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Ground Beef Recall When Salmonella Food Poisoning Sickens 33

July 23, 2012 — Cargill Meat Solutions has announced a recall of 29,339 pounds of fresh ground beef products due to contamination with Salmonella Enteritidis. At least 33 people were sickened with salmonella food poisoning, mostly in states in the northeastern part of the U.S. Many of the illnesses have been traced to ground beef sold at Hannaford supermarket stores in MA, ME, NH, NY and VT.

The products were sold in large wholesale quantities for further processing. The recall involves 14-pound chub packages of “Grnd Beef Fine 85/15,” packed three chubs to a 42-pound case. They are marked with the establishment number “EST. 9400” inside the USDA mark for inspection. The products were produced on May 25, 2012 and shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut, Maine and New York for further distribution.

Although the use-by date has passed, it is possible that some of these products may have been frozen and may be eaten at a later date.

It may be difficult for a customer to determine whether their product is part of the recall. The contaminated products were re-packaged into smaller packages and sold under different names. Many of the illnesses have been tied to ground beef products sold at Hannaford supermarkets.

The outbreak has sickened at least 33 people in seven states (MA, ME, NH, NY, RI, VA, VT). The investigation has combined the efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Vermont Department of Health, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets. The agencies were able to link five illnesses to the Cargill ground beef products. The five patients were sickened between June 6, 2102 until June 13, 2012, and two required hospitalization.

Fortunately, this strain of salmonella is sensitive to antibiotic drugs, and the people who have been hospitalized can be treated effectively. Public health officials are continuing to investigate the outbreak.

The Salmonella bacteria can cause a gastrointestinal disease called salmonellosis. It causes acute diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12-72 hours of ingesting the contaminated product. The disease may progress to include vomiting, nausea, chills, and headache that can last up to a week. Most healthy adults recover from the illness without requiring hospitalization. In rare cases, salmonella poisoning can be life-threatening or deadly. Serious complications are most likely when the disease affects children, the elderly, pregnant women, or people with compromised immune systems.

To reduce the risk of salmonella, consumers are advised to only eat ground beef that has been cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F, which can be tested with a food thermometer. Experts also recommend careful preparation procedures to ensure that raw meat products do not cross-contaminate surfaces, utensils, or other foods.

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